Mount a samba share on the fly without having it mounted statically at boot via the /etc/fstab file can bring you the advantage of a painless boot in case of unavailability of the samba server like in the following common scenarios:

  • laptop: you mount your pc share at home, but when you move it becomes unavailable;
  • workstation: you mount the share of your workmate but when he/she goes on holiday so his/her workstation is off.

Using autofs this can be accomplished easily following these steps:

  1. Set /auto under the control of autofs adding this line to /etc/auto.master:

    /auto            /etc/auto.auto    --timeout=5 --ghost
    
  2. Point directory to a samba share //server/share in /etc/auto.auto:

    directory              -fstype=cifs,credentials=/etc/smb.auth         ://server/share
    

    Note that directory is a child directory of /auto.

  3. Store access credentials to the samba share in /etc/smb.auth:

    username=yourusername
    password=youpassword
    
  4. Secure the password file: # chmod 600 /etc/smb.auth

  5. Start autofs:

    # /etc/init.d/autofs start`
    Starting automount:                                                
    [  OK  ]